From mastering earned media placements, to festive trend jacking and harnessing the power of social media – here’s how B2B brands can tap into the Black Friday, Cyber Monday craze
The gap between B2B and B2C buyer behaviors has become closer as new technologies increase expectations for information access, convenience, and service. Excellent CX is no longer solely in the domain of Amazon-type retail giants – B2B customers want it too, and the pressure is on businesses of all sizes to keep up.
Over the past few months, the team at IBA has been quick to note the converging tactics and strategies of B2C and B2B industries, with our new B2C meets B2B blog series featuring recent blogs about what B2B brands can learn from Olaplex’s ‘OlaDupé’ campaign, or from the likes of Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. I was keen to expand on this series, and look at how B2B brands can join in on the upcoming Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM) action!
Is there space for a B2Black Friday?
Black Friday is the biggest retail event of the year, and has been since 2005 – so it’s not a surprise that B2C businesses spend the majority of the year preparing for the big day. On the flip side, B2B businesses traditionally tend to take a back seat – but that’s about to change!
73% of B2B buyers today are millennials who are greatly influenced in their purchasing online rather than in-person – they’ll talk to a salesperson but further down the sales funnel than you might think. They are digital natives who expect a B2C-like buying experience. These buyers grew up during the growth of Black Friday’s popularity, and are very familiar with the market opportunities that the BFCM festivities provide.
It’s time for B2B brands to step up – and some are already doing it.
But don’t just take my word for it, BFCM opportunities for B2B organizations are cropping up worldwide! A survey of 100 online B2B retailers in Germany found that 57% of companies that had taken part in Black Friday deals secured a significant increase in sales. Meanwhile, across the pond, a SaaS subscription billing company in the U.S. reported that sales peak on Cyber Monday for software sellers. In short – B2B brands that offer discounts on Black Friday are reaping the benefits of jumping on the bandwagon!
Don’t understand the BFCM hype?
For those B2B brands that see an appropriate opportunity to offer a BFCM deal or incentive – there are plenty of routes and options to choose from. From offering a free introduction call with an industry analyst, allowing free access to a whitepaper, or releasing exclusive tickets to an upcoming event or conference – BFCM means more than just sticking a 25% off badge on your products!
But what makes the limited discounts and offers appealing enough to send us all into a frenzy? It links back to the brain of course! B2B customers are still human and react to certain triggers: the brain releases dopamine while it takes in typical call-outs on the exclusivity of BFCM sales and promotions. The brain reacts to keywords such as ‘discount’, ‘sale’, ‘deal’, and ‘two for one’ – I know I certainly fall victim to a good ‘BOGOF’ far too often!
Now here at IBA, we’re no strangers to making the most of cognitive resonance, or ‘Brain Engine Optimization‘. In fact, we’re advocates for keeping our content creative, emotive, and personal – no ChatGPT in sight!
Black Friday, Cyber Monday isn’t a one-B2B-size-fits-all – think out of the B2C box
It goes without saying that B2B buying journeys can be very long and complex – they’re high value, involve many stakeholders, and can have long research and negotiation periods. It’s all about making sure the opportunity suits your organization and products, and you’re not jumping on the bandwagon just for the sake of it.
The BFCM B2B Checklist
If your organization has decided to dive into the Black Friday waters, here’s our top four tips to ensure you’re ready to capitalize on the biggest shopping event of the year:
- Find the right approach for your brand: As I said earlier – BFCM isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to B2B brands and products! Make sure the deal you offer aligns with your products and services in order to make the most of the market opportunity.
- Make quality earned media your bread and butter: As BFCM approaches, editorial prices will rise across broad media and paid channels. Our tip? Focus on earned media in top-tier industry outlets to promote your products and position your organization as an industry leader – don’t forget to share your upcoming Black Friday deals to maximize on interest and sales. It’s time to take advantage of the season and write content that fits. Take it from us, seasonal content performs extremely well. Case in point – last year we sat down with our Data Movement client’s SME to draft a comment about the future of in-store payments. Originally pitched in the summer months, we decided to repitch this comment to industry & trade media in the run up to the retail madness of Black Friday – and gained a number of further quality earned placements not just in the U.S. and UK but also in Europe!
- Be website ready: Ensure your earned media content features plenty of backlinks to direct traffic right back to your site, and make sure your website is updated and ready to handle the increase in traffic – think appeal to the digital-first millennials. Don’t be the last B2B brand to participate in BFCM to beat the competition – doing so will set your organization apart from your competitors and boost your sales.
- Don’t forget #SocialMedia: Things move fast on BFCM, but so does social media. X (formerly Twitter) can be a helpful tool for lead generation, brand development, customer service, and social listening – to get a feel for market interest around Black Friday, social listening is vital to gain valuable insights on how to tweak or personalize offers to fit your audience. LinkedIn is the go-to social site for B2B marketing, accounting for 80% of B2B leads, and mustn’t be left out! LinkedIn can be used to promote your solutions and products, share your upcoming deals, or even offer exclusive discounts.
It pays off to embrace B2Black Friday, Cyber Monday
Yes, BFCM has traditionally been embraced by the B2C world – but there’s nothing stopping B2B organizations from capitalizing on this busy retail period! Bringing Black Friday to B2B isn’t just ambulance chasing – it’s a strategic shift that offers transformative benefits for any participating brand.
To tap into the craze of BFCM, B2B brands need to leverage the power of social media and earned media placements, make sure they keep their own sites up to date, write personable and relevant content, and make sure they aren’t the last to join the BFCM hype!
Caitlin Goldsmith is PR Executive at IBA International.